usability – The user can specify a directory for an automatically generated file name or an explicit file

Function of the software

Allow the administrator of a hardware component to download the server configuration and store it in a data file for backup / migration purposes. The interface is currently configured as a wizard. The user is presented with simple choices on each screen. The front and back buttons allow navigation on the screen.

Current behavior

  • The user selects a folder in which to store the file (the User Documents directory is set by default)
  • The Browse button brings up a folder browser
  • The user enters more information (IP address, passwords, etc.)
  • The user launches the download
  • The software generates a file name based on a template including the MAC address of the server and the time and date of the start of the download.

Sample screen

Desired behavior

  • Most users will still want the software to generate a file name based on a template (current behavior)
  • The user has the option to specify a location and file name to use

Options I consider

  • Add a screen on the wizard that allows a branch; ie "Select a folder to store the data with an automatically generated file name OR Specify a file name and location to use"
  • Put both options on a single screen selectable via the radio button
  • Other?

I know that a standard solution is to present the user with a pre-filled file browser with a generated file name, but the fact that the file location is selected before the start of the process, as well as the generated file . filename contains a timestamp based on the beginning of the process … This complicates the problem a bit.


EDIT with more workflow description


In hindsight, I guess I did not give enough basic information in the initial description of the problem. This is not just a type of "download and save" operation.

  • The client software must collect a bunch of user information before the start of the download process. One of the necessary information is where to store the data once they have been received.
  • When the user has finished entering all the information, due to the amount of information entered and the time needed for a system to collect everything, we present them with a summary page stating "here is what you are about to do "with a" do it "button.
  • I could ask the user to indicate the location of the file by the time he clicks the "do" button, but it seems like it is in the wrong place in the workflow. It's really as if the selected location should be part of what is displayed in the summary information.
  • In addition to the "it's not okay" that I said above, once they clicked the "do it" button, and before the download starts, there is a Meme it arbitrarily long period during which the client contacts one or more external devices, collects information. , make sure all the parts fit together correctly and that all the information entered by the user is correct. If there is a problem, which is not at all unlikely, the user may need to back up the workflow and make changes, and then restart. Should I ask for a file again each time they click on the "do" button?
  • If I do not make the file selection the last thing that is done when the user presses the "do it" button, then the time / date value that I insert into the template at the moment they select the location of the file will be wrong. They could possibly start to fill in the information contained in the wizard at the end of the day, go home, and then start the process the next morning at the earliest hour.
  • This is not implemented now, but we plan in the future to allow the user to choose to schedule the download at a later time. This process can be intrusive and it can be interesting to plan for it at a time when network traffic is low. If we implement this, we must absolutely collect the information on the file well before downloading.

Hope this information clarifies a little bit the reason for my dilemma. Sorry for the confusion.